Dr. Nicola Galloway works as a Lecturer in Education (TESOL) at the University of Edinburgh, where she teaches a course on Global Englishes language Teaching. She has written two books on the topic and is currently finalising her recent monograph, Rose, H and Galloway, N ( 2018). Global Englishes Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.
Interviewer: Ju Seong (John) Lee
1. Thank you for joining us on NNEST-of-the-month blog. Could you briefly tell us about your personal and professional background?
I began my teaching career as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the JET (Japan Exchange Teaching) Programme in Japan, where I worked for two years as a ‘native’ English-speaking teacher. After gaining my MSc in TESOL in Scotland, I returned to Japan to work at a university. After six years, I moved to one of Japan’s first English Medium Instruction (EMI) universities, where I was responsible for EAP curriculum design and evaluation. During this time, I completed a PhD at The University of Southampton in the field of Global Englishes. I then joined The University of Edinburgh in 2012 to take on the role of a Lecturer in Education (TESOL). I am also the course co-ordinator for a course on Second Language Teaching Curriculum and Global Englishes for Language Teaching (GELT).
2. Your research interests include English learners’ attitudes towards English and ELT, Global Englishes (GE) curriculum design and materials development. How did you become interested in these areas?
My research interests in the pedagogical implications of Global Englishes stem from my experience on the JET programme. I initially completed a joint MA degree in Geography/Politics, not in Education. Despite having a future goal of becoming a teacher (a primary school teacher at that time), I had no experience of teaching English and did not have any teaching qualifications. During my time in Japan, I soon felt very inferior to my non-native speaking counterparts, as they had a much superior knowledge of the English language, teaching experience and knowledge of the students’ mother tongue and educational context, and I could not speak one word of Japanese at that time! I began to question my role in Japan – why I was being asked to change my Scottish accent and write in American English, why I was generally being used as a tape recorder – “Stand up Nicola. Read from…. Students, repeat after Nicola” and why all of these Japanese students were imitating a Scottish girl trying to speak with an American accent. I also started to wonder why my students were learning English in this small mountain village, who their future interlocutors would be and why there was this focus on America. Basically, I was questioning why I was there and whether I was of any real use to the students.
I returned to Scotland to further my education and to embark on a career in TESOL. My MSc dissertation focused on the employment of ‘native’ English speaking teachers in Japan (Assistant Language Teachers in Japan: Imperialism or Empowerment?). My interest in this area increased further when I returned to Japan to work in a university setting, where I taught content-based courses and EAP courses in English. I began asking myself more questions, such as: How do my students use English outside of the classroom? To what extent is the native English-speaking model, which is being taught by a native English speaker, meeting their needs? What are their attitudes towards English and their teachers? What is their understanding of the role of English as a global language? Is there a more appropriate way to prepare them to use English as a global language? As I researched the topic, it became evident that the lack of an extensive body of research at the classroom level was problematic. Theoretical developments were outpacing research and I felt that practitioners may need, and benefit from, more practical suggestions. This encouraged me to embark on a PhD at The University of Southampton with Professor Jennifer Jenkins. I examined students’ attitudes towards English and ELT in an Expanding Circle context from a fresh perspective. My study looked at their attitudes towards English and learning the language, what factors influence these attitudes and how a course in Global Englishes could influence these attitudes. In a sense, it was an action research project and I initially hoped that my doctoral research would not only contribute to theory, but also help inform my own teaching practice. However, after submitting my thesis, I returned home to Scotland and took up a post at The University of Edinburgh. I introduced a course there on Global Englishes Language Teaching and have recently become interested in incorporating Global Englishes into teacher education as part of a bigger aim towards instigating a paradigm shift in the field of TESOL away from native English speaking norms.
3. You have consistently encouraged English teachers to consider incorporating GE into ELT. What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of implementing GE?
The rise of English as a global language has changed the foundations of how the language is taught and learned. The pedagogical implications of this have led many scholars to call for a paradigm shift in the field of TESOL. This shift is necessary to ensure the TESOL classroom is reflective of the new sociolinguistic landscape of the 21st century. Several concrete proposals for change have also been put forward, and these have been grouped together into a Global Englishes Language Teaching (GELT) framework (Galloway, 2011; Galloway & Rose, 2015). GELT is not a prescriptive model for ELT. It aims to emphasise the diversity of global teaching practices and the diversity of students’ needs around the globe. It is a student-centered framework for curricula that aims to enable TESOL practitioners to critically evaluate their curricula in relation to Global Englishes. It emphasizes the need to raise awareness of the issues associated with the spread of English and to prepare learners to use English in various global and local communities of practice. By promoting a more global ownership of English it is hoped that GELT will help emancipate non-native speakers from native speaker norms.
However, instigating a paradigm shift is a challenging task. Despite the growing debate on the need for a critical examination of ELT/TESOL in relation to the globalization of English, the industry continues to focus on native English norms. Teacher training manuals and ELT materials continue to focus on static representations of English and constrained representations of future use of the language with native speakers in inner circle cultures. This is unfortunate, given that ELF is now the most common use of the language today. The movement towards GELT requires a conceptual transition, in terms of both how the language itself is viewed and how it is taught. Many ‘barriers’ have been identified (Galloway and Rose, 2015) and it is important to acknowledge the various environmental constraints to implementing change that may exist in different contexts. Testing is one of these barriers and there continues to be a mismatch between the English used by test-takers and the English they are assessed on. Measuring test-takers on their intercultural strategic competence and their ability to use ELF in international situations may also be daunting for TESOL practitioners who are used to testing students on ‘errors’ or deviations from the ‘standard’ norm. A further ‘barrier’ relates to the attachment to the idea of a ‘standard’ English and such a deeply ingrained ideology is difficult to challenge. Many TESOL practitioners, and students, cling to ‘standard’ norms and have fixed ideas about how English should be taught.
4. You are currently involved in a research project with our previous guest, Dr. Heath Rose. How do you think GE can be incorporated in teacher education?
Heath and I are currently finishing our monograph with Cambridge University Press, Rose and Galloway (2018) Global Englishes for Language Teaching, that will be published later in the year. It aims to build on the growing literature on the pedagogical implications of Global Englishes research, which includes a number of edited books devoted to the topic of ELT (e.g., Alsagoff, 2012; Matsuda, 2012) and articles in language teaching journals (e.g., Jenkins, 2012)(Jennifer Jenkins, Cogo, & Dewey, 2011). It also aims to widen the debate on the need for change in ELT practice in light of such research, by offering a detailed examination of what GELT, or incorporating a Global Englishes perspective into the ELT classroom, would look like.
In order to achieve the paradigm shift towards GELT, it is crucial not to alienate experienced teachers by telling them that their current teaching practices are irrelevant and outdated. It is also important that calls for change are grounded in classroom-based research, and not on moral or theoretical arguments. In order to bridge a theory practice divide, we call for more research carried out by practitioners in our book, and we also report on three empirical studies, one of which involves pre- and in-service TESOL practitioners undertaking a GELT course on an MSc TESOL programme. It is important that GELT teacher education raises pre- and in-service practitioners’ awareness of the fact that there is an alternative way of thinking about English and that the most common use of the language today is as a lingua franca. In TESOL books aimed at practitioner researchers and teacher trainees, language is still characterized by norms of ‘standard’ varieties, rather than the diversity and plurality of ELF interaction. They also need the opportunity to examine the pedagogical implications of the global spread of English, and opportunity to revisit fundamental TESOL theories and concepts in light of Global Englishes research. However, it is important not to tell teachers what to do, or to suggest that the pedagogical practices familiar to them, and those on the programme as a whole, are wrong.
By advocating the inclusion of GELT in TESOL practitioner education courses, we are not suggesting abolishing current content. Rather, we want to encourage a critical examination of key concepts and theories through a Global Englishes lens, particularly for those working in contexts where students are likely to use ELF. We also want to encourage them to see themselves not as passive receivers of an education, but as important agents of change in the curriculum innovation process, hence our call for more action research in our upcoming book.
5. What are the advantages of learning GE for EFL students? If any, do you think there are any drawbacks?
GELT is a student-centered framework for curricula that aims to enable TESOL practitioners to critically evaluate their curricula in relation to Global Englishes. Based on the proposals for change in the literature, this perspective of ELT emphasizes the need to raise awareness of the issues associated with the spread of English and to prepare learners to use English in various global and local communities of practice. It is early days for GELT, yet the growing body of studies examining the impact of GELT on learners’ attitudes show that learners have positive attitudes. There is also a growing body of studies reporting positive responses to incorporating a GELT perspective into TESOL practitioner education programmes. Practitioners and curriculum planners will always want to know why an innovation is better than what they have at present, and this growing body of research on GELT is helpful to communicate the benefits of GELT.
Global Englishes research highlights a mismatch between what is currently taught in the ‘traditional’ ELT curricula and how the language is used as a lingua franca. It showcases, for example, that ‘errors’ and ‘mistakes’, often highlighted in mainstream ELT materials and assessments, do not necessarily result in a communication breakdown. Such research provides insights for curricula planning. We do recognize that not all ELF users have the same needs and ‘native’ English norms may still be appropriate for some learners. Indeed, GELT is based on the context-sensitive nature of such communication, and aims to increase learners’ choice, recognizing the diverse needs of learners today. Whilst students’ desire to learn native English should not, of course, be dismissed, it is important for researchers, and practitioners, to explore these attitudes, and students’ needs, in more depth. An effective GELT curriculum should not only be based on an understanding of learners’ goals and motivation for learning the language, but also on their needs.
6. GE studies and resources for teachers seem to be in great demand but quite limited in volume. Could you recommend materials and resources for those who are interested in implementing GE-oriented pedagogical ideas at the instructional level?
Some recent publications lesson plans and activities. There is also an increasing number of GE texts that include practical suggestions and ideas (e. g., Alsagoff, McKay, Hu & Renandya, 2012; Bayyurt & Akcan, 2015; Cogo & Bowles, 2015; Galloway, 2017; Galloway & Rose, 2015; Matsuda, 2012). Useful resources can also be found on the following website: http://www.routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9780415835329/
7. How do you think GE will develop in the language learning context in the future?
In order to achieve macro-level change in ELT, it is important to recognize that the implementation of ELT curriculum innovation is complex in itself and even more so with regards to GELT. The process has to be planned properly and planners have to take into account various factors, which may influence successful implementation. Careful consideration of the various factors (outlined in Rose and Galloway, 2018) will enhance the potential for successful and sustained long-term innovation. It is also crucial not to alienate experienced teachers by telling them that their current teaching practices are irrelevant and outdated. Giving adequate consideration to these factors and also to the context within which practitioners are working will help reduce the possibility of them being resistant to change. GELT aims for a bottom-up approach to curricular innovation that values both teacher and learner agency in the curriculum innovation process. However, I do not wish to be idealistic and do recognize that this will need time and support. It is also important that calls for change are grounded in classroom-based research, and not on theoretical arguments. We need more research carried out by practitioners.
8. Could you tell us about your current and future research plans?
Currently, I am finalizing the chapters for the new book. I am also writing several papers reporting on GELT in relation to teacher education and am planning further work examining the attitudes of key stakeholders in the field with the overall aim of contributing to GELT curriculum innovation. My aim is to address the scarcity of research that offers practitioners concrete suggestions on how to implement change.
I am also conducting work within the context of the internationalization of Higher Education. My British Council funded project focused on the growing global phenomenon of EMI at the higher education level. I am particularly interested in how the expanding international student body, and the use of English as an academic lingua franca, is shaping higher education.
I am also currently working with a computer software company as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to contribute to an online educational platform for young learners in China. The project finishes soon, but we hope to continue with the work.
Alsagoff, L., McKay, S. L., Hu, G., & Renandya, W. A. (2012). Principles and practices of teaching English as an international language. (L. Alsagoff, S. L. McKay, G. Hu, & W. A. Renandya, Eds.). Bristol: Routledge.
Bayyurt, Y., & Akcan, S. (2015). Current Perspectives on Pedagogy for English as a Lingua Franca. (Y. Bayyurt & S. Akcan, Eds.). Berlin, München, Boston: DE GRUYTER. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110335965
Cogo, A., & Bowles, H. (2015). International Perspectives on English as a Lingua Franca: Pedagogical Insights. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccw085
Galloway, N. (2011). An investigation of Japanese students` attitudes towards English. PhD Thesis submitted to The University of Southampton.
Galloway, N. (2017). Global Englishes and change in English language teaching: Attitudes and impact. Global Englishes and Change in English Language Teaching: Attitudes and Impact. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315158983
Galloway, N., & Rose, H. (2015). Introducing Global Englishes. Routledge.
Jenkins, J. (2012). English as a Lingua Franca from the classroom to the classroom. ELT Journal. Retrieved from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/66/4/486.short
Jenkins, J., Cogo, A., & Dewey, M. (2011). Review of developments in research into English as a lingua franca. Language Teaching, 44(3), 281–315. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444811000115
Matsuda, A. (2012). Principles and Practices of Teaching English as an International Language (New Perspectives on Language and Education). (A. Matsuda, Ed.). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Rose, H and Galloway, N. (2018). Global Englishes language Teaching. Cambridge University Press.